Bogalusa’s parks could get grant assistance

Published 4:53 am Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Bogalusa City Council president Gloria Kates recently extended an invitation to Benny Puckett, grant contracts reviewer and representative of the Office of Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, to tour areas of the city for fact-finding and to initiate research.

Before the tour started, Kates gave the tour group a handout that included the economic value of Parks and Recreation, the health and environmental benefits, and the social importance. On the top of that list, it was noted that parks improve the local tax base and increase property values.

In 2016, the Bogalusa Parks and Recreation deficiencies were identified by Kates, councilwoman Tamira Smith, councilman Brian McCree, and council vice-president Sherry Fortenberry.

“The purpose of the tour was to, theoretically, demonstrate a beginning to identify the need for potential applicable grant opportunities that focus on areas to generate activities for our youth and citizens,“ Kates said.

“The areas of concentration were to initiate an updated assessment of deficient parks, to explore possible public/private partnerships, to develop and encourage community responsibility of larger, local businesses, and to poll the interest of citizens and business on the Avenue U YMCA, a local theater, a bowling alley, a skating rink and a Boys and Girls Club.”

On Friday, Puckett received his tour, with an assessment team that also included council members Doug Ritchie and Smith, and private citizen Fate Ferrell.

The tour included the Poplas Street Recreational Center, which needs indoor/outdoor recreation equipment; the Aurora Street Playground and the Redmond Street Playground; the Temples Playground on May Street; the River Terrace Playground; the Main Street Playground; the Jerry Lee Memorial Playground, which all need playground equipment; and the “Coach Mike” Michael Harrington Baseball Field, which needs a backstop, fencing, and field lights.

After the tour, Puckett said, “Bogalusa has had a for a longtime need for recreational assistance, and that need is acknowledged by the lieutenant governor’s office. He wants to do whatever he can to help.”

“’We need something for our youth and other citizens to do,” Kates said.